Do you have a clueless friend who keeps asking you questions about India since he has absolutely no idea (or very little idea) what our motherland is all about? Or maybe you have an Indian friend, whose favourite pastime is to complain about the government, education system and the issue of rising population, all the time. Well, now you have an opportunity to show them what India really stands for and why it is called the cultural superpower of the world. All you need to do in order to prove your point is to somehow convince your friend to attend the biggest and the most awaited Indian extravaganza, that occurs on the soil of HK every year – ‘India by the Bay’. Prepare yourself to witness some really kickass performances and meet some really talented people! This year ‘India by the Bay’ brings you a total of 12 events that’ll take place in the time span of 8 days, between 2nd to 9th February. Let me guide you through each of these events and help you understand what kind of new and exciting experiences are awaiting you this year. Day 1 – 2nd February 2018 1. Gala Dinner by Chef Anahita S. Dhondy – In India there’s a tradition of eating something sweet before starting an auspicious journey. Maybe that’s why they’ve kept the gala dinner right at the beginning! Anahita Dhondy is one of the youngest and also one of the most successful culinary talents of India. This inspiring lady owns and manages the popular Bombay Irani Cafe brand, SodaBottleOpenerWala. She’s in charge of serving an assortment of lip-smacking Parsi delicacies at the very first event of the festival. And that’s not all, the dinner will be accompanied by a discussion by Jason Wordie, who’ll introduce you to the intriguing history of Parsi community and will also talk about their deep relationship with Hong Kong. Day 2 – 3rd February 2018 2. Bollywood Dance Workshop by Gilles Chuyen – This talented, French-born dancer/choreographer says that he fell in love with India at a very young age. Upon discovering the joy of Bollywood dancing, he has found the passion of his life. Gilles Chuyen has conducted Bollywood dance workshops in several parts of the world before and every time he dons the trainer’s hat, people end up having a fantastic time! 3. In Conversation with Zeenat Aman – Okay, let’s be honest, wouldn’t it be super cool to watch a Bollywood superstar, live and up-close on stage, casually talking about the films she has done, directors she has worked with, her co-actors and the glamorous world of Bollywood in general? Oh yes, it’ll be! And when the celebrity in question is someone like Zeenat Aman, you can imagine the conversation to be even more intriguing since she has seen both, the glittery as well as the ugly side of Bollywood. The ‘Chura Liya Hai’ beauty queen, who ruled the silver-screen throughout the 70s, will be in conversation with Sanjoy K Roy. And after the dialogue, there’ll be a cocktail reception for all the attendees hosted by Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong. Definitely sounds like an evening not to be missed! 4/5. Physical Theatre and Paper Puppet Theatre Workshop – This 2-day workshop is specifically designed for the young minds of our generation. The Physical Theatre Workshop will be conducted on 3rd February and will allow participants falling in the age bracket of 13 to 25 years, while the Paper Puppet Theatre Workshop will be held on 4th February, allowing youngsters between 10-18 years of age to participate and learn the magical art of paper puppetry. Day 3 – 4th February 2018 6. Family Day – Last year this event proved to be a major success with more than 800 attendees. This year’s ‘Family Day’ promises to be even bigger and better, with a line-up of multiple activities including storytelling sessions, cooking classes, workshops in dance, theatre, yoga, and other exciting activities where the whole family can explore the world of arts and crafts together, in the most fun ways ever. 7. Literature: A Conversation with Author Shrabani Basu – A dialogue with London based novelist/journalist, Shrabani Basu, whose bestseller ‘Victoria and Abdul’ has recently been adapted to a film by Stephen Frears. Shrabani began her career in the field of journalism in 1983 with Times of India. In 1987, she shifted to London and ever since she has become an integral part of ‘Anandabazar Patrika’, a Kolkata based newspaper with a circulation of over one million. She is also associated with the Telegraph and when she’s not working for any of these publications, she spends time combining history with her passion for weaving words and writing beautiful stories. Day 4 – 5th February 2018 8. Discover The Rare Art Form Of Gond – Edward Wilkinson will be in conversation with artist Bhajju Shyam, who happens to be the most recognized name in the world of Gond tribal art. Mr. Shyam comes from a small tribal village of Patnagarh, located in the state of Odisha and is known for inspiring so many people to pursue their passions in life by setting an example of his own journey. From being a security guard to becoming a world famous artist! Bhajju will be displaying his work of art at the Bonhams Gallery and he will also be conducting a workshop in Gond art during the festival. Day 5 – 6th February 2018 9. Musical Night with Grammy Award Winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt – A music concert by Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, who received a Grammy in 1994 and is also the creator of Mohan Veena (a kind of a 19-stringed, hybrid slide guitar). This highly acclaimed Hindustani classical music instrumentalist is a disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar, whose immense talent is recognized and appreciated all over the world by musicians of all kinds. Enjoy an hour and a half of pure bliss at this concert, as Bhatt takes you on a journey through some of his best compositions and melodies. Day 6 – 7th February 2018 10. A Dialogue with Screenwriter and Photographer, Sooni Taraporevala – One of Mira Nair’s most trusted screenwriters, whose best works include screenplays of films like the Namesake, Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala, will be in conversation with Mallika Kapur (a well known CNN correspondent) during this edition of India by the Bay. In 2007, Sooni directed her first feature film, Little Zizou and took home a national award for it. Day 7 – 8th February 2018 11. Dramatics – Elephant in the Room – A contemporary take on Lord Ganesha’s tale that can be described as quirky and heartrending, both at the same time. It is a solo performance where the protagonist is a young boy called Master Tusk, who finds himself dealing with a new head on his shoulders and that too of an elephant! The play is about this boy’s tumultuous expedition through a forest, dealing with unknown fears and threats and ultimately exploring who he really is. Day 8 – 9th February 2018 12. Dance Performance – Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts joined hands with the Rhythmosaic Sengupta Dance Company to bring on stage, a one of its kind dance routine that has both, classical as well as contemporary influences. You will get to see a unique mix of Kathak and Jazz in this particular choreography, probing endless possibilities in the field of experimental movements.